Does this Paleo and Vegan diet hybrid actually work?


Keto was so 2018. Say hello to the ‘pegan’ diet – the newest diet trend that’s going to clog up your Instagram feed in no time.

The Pegan Diet is a combination of the popular paleo and vegan dietary patterns. For those who don’t know: paleo is higher in protein, focusing on meat, fruit, veg, nuts and seeds (supposedly just as the cave men did). A vegan diet is completely plant-based, with no foods of animal origin allowed. So, what happens when you cross the two?

The pros

The pegan diet recommends that most of your diet should be made up of fruit and vegetables. That’s a great start, as most people don’t eat anywhere near enough of these nutritional powerhouses that fight-disease, contain essential micronutrients and provide fibre for a healthy gut.

It also has a focus on healthy fats like oily fish (like salmon or tuna), nuts, seeds and avocado – and that’s good news for the health of your heart and brain.

Plus, you’re allowed to have a mixture of plant- and animal-based proteins, including small amounts of meat, fish and eggs, so it’s not overly restrictive in that department.

Another positive aspect of the pegan diet is that processed foods are limited. That’s not to say that all processed foods are unhealthy, but that too many people eat way too much of the ‘less-healthy’ kind (like chips, biscuits, snack bars, etc).

The cons

But it’s not all non-processed, paleo edible roses.

The pegan diet also advocates for going gluten-free, which is simply unnecessary if you don’t have a medical need to do so. What’s more, gluten-free grains are recommended to be limited. So, you’d have to say goodbye to wholesome foods like wholegrain bread, quinoa and brown rice – along with the long-lasting energy they provide (hello 3pm slump).

Legumes are another super healthy food to limit – and that’s a major gripe for me. Beans, lentils and chickpeas are brimming with health perks, and we’d all benefit from eating more of them.

Last but not least, you’re not allowed to have dairy on the pegan diet either, which can make it hard for you to get enough calcium. That’s a worry, particularly if you’re female, because most of us (three quarters) don’t have a sufficient intake of calcium in the first place.

The verdict

Yes, there are some positive aspects of this trendy new diet. But, there are also several unnecessary restrictions, which is one of my pet peeves.

At the end of the day, I think the pegan diet is just another restrictive fad that isn’t going to work for the vast majority of people in the long run. Plus, there’s the potential for it to lead to several nutrient deficiencies. My advice? Buyer beware.

Read more stories like this: Why this dietitian wants you to ditch the keto diet. Plus, How to be a vegan safely.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.